Lockyer mayor wants power to cull bat colonies

Mayor Steve Jones say local government needs more power to cull and remove bat colonies.
Mayor Steve Jones say local government needs more power to cull and remove bat colonies.

LOCKYER Valley Regional Council has joined the chorus of voices calling for the relaxing of red tape surrounding the removal and culling of bats from built up areas.

Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones, said local government authorities needed greater powers to be able to move on large colonies of bats without the need to go through exhausting levels of red tape.

"We have a situation in Gatton where we have a large colony of bats located next to an aged care facility and across the road from a child care centre, and we still aren't allowed to move them on despite the animals being the primary carrier of Lyssavirus" he said.

"There have been three confirmed cases of bat-borne Lyssavirus in Australia, all have occurred in Queensland and all have proved fatal, the latest case being the very sad and unfortunate death of a young eight year old North Queensland boy.

"Lyssavirus is closely related to Rabies and has a long incubation period, meaning you may not show any symptoms for months after being either bitten or scratched. 

"In fact, I'm led to believe that in one of the cases, the person didn't show any symptoms for two years after being bitten.

"She died 19 days later.

"I am vehemently opposed to sitting around and doing nothing.

People must come before bats and while I'm not saying we should eradicate the species, I am saying people need to come first and we need to be able to move colonies on when they are in close proximity to people, especially the elderly and the young.

"Some experts have recently come out and said that Australian bats pose no threat and are completely safe.

"I disagree, if they were completely safe, why do we have people dying after being bitten or scratched by them.  It's ridiculous to think they are completely safe when we know for a fact they can carry both Lyssavirus and Hendra, two deadly diseases.

"I applaud moves by the Queensland State Government to relax bat control and welcome continued discussions with authorities to look into ways to fast track the removal of bats from built up areas," he said.

"No one knows how many bats, if any for that matter, that roost in the Lockyer Valley may carry the killer virus, but it's certainly a gamble I'm not prepared to take."



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